Fr James Martin SJ and Fr Dan Fitzpatrick Tweet that the Holy Spirit is Female. How sad.

Let’s start by getting one thing straight shall we? The Holy Spirit is not a boy. It is not a girl. It is a spirit. But let’s also remember that as human beings we have limited ways of expressing our understanding and knowledge of God. Our language is not perfect. And even with our male and female nouns and pronouns we still often struggle to correctly describe certain theological things.

However…

Our limited non-perfect attempts at expression do not give us the right to skew the truth to what we would prefer it to look like. A misplaced word or phrase has massive connotations for certain situations – especially theological ones, and can completely change the meaning of a certain word and the proper teaching behind it. In short – it is not difficult to lead people down the wrong path.

For those in a position of power or trust, this is an incredibly important issue. It is so important for the Pope that he has his own personal moral theologian who oversees every written speech, homily and even his Tweets.

Speaking of Tweets…

Father james martin

Hmmm. For those of you who don’t know Fr. James Martin, he is an extremely well known Jesuit in America who has written plenty of books and has a very large social media following. His views are vague and liberal. He is not particularly concerned with upholding the truths of the catholic faith but instead is interested in discussing issues like gay marriage, women’s ordination ect… He leaves the content of his posts ‘open’ but does not step in to correct the ordinary person in the pew when they reply to his Facebook posts with comments like:

“Thank you, Fr. Jim for your post. My wife and I are remarried divorced Catholics who anxiously await some change in the Church’s position on people like us. More importantly, though, we have a number of gay and lesbian friends including two married male couples each of whose love for each other could serve as an example to many couples, both heterosexual and homosexual! I pray that the day will come when all of us can be completely reunited within the Church we love and were raised in! God bless you.”

“It was such an honor to obtain a secular appointment to officiate at legal marriages. I have only presided over one: the civil marriage of two wonderful gay friends who have been in a committed relationship for more than 30 years. I know the church would not approve of my doing this, but my conscience and the Holy Spirit said that their union must be legal and blessed.”

Well, I guess if the Holy Spirit told you it was ok to go against church teachings then ‘she’ is right! (Goodness gracious me…)

But every so often priests like this get a little too big for their liberal boots and end up making a big boo-boo. By calling the Holy Spirit ‘her’ based on the ancient Hebrew term ‘ruach’ is one of these big boo-boo’s. Now I am not an ancient Hebrew expert myself – but I have a few friends who are, and I showed them this tweet (hiding Fr. James’ identity) and asked them to give me their honest opinion:

“Hilarious. Just another modern sort suffering from theological confusion. Who said that? According to Strong’s concordance it is a feminine noun. However, in Gen 1:2 it is used with a masculine noun (elohim). It is a fascinating usage. Ruach (feminine) Elohim (masculine plural). Literally translated as Spirit of Gods. The Rabbis are still working that one out.

The Holy Spirit is pure spirit and does not have gender. Gender is of the material creaturely realm. Angels and God do not have gender (though the Son does because he has a body!!). Digressing slightly, the Son is often referred to as the Wisdom of God, but the book of Wisdom refers to wisdom in the feminine! The word ‘Spirit’ as ruach feminine noun, but it does not mean it applies exclusively to women, as per English language. Hebrew is ancient and thus has different rules to English, so he cannot apply the same rules.

The New Testament word is ‘pneuma’ which is a neutral noun. The only phrase I can find where Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit using gender is John 15:26, ‘The advocate…he will…’ Either way, the Holy Spirit is ‘Elohim’ which is specifically masculine, and God is always referred to in the masculine, thus we should always speak of God like that.”

So it seems Fr James either needs to brush up on his ancient biblical nouns, or he knows quite well that what he was saying was a load of old nonsense. But either way – he knew very well to begin with that the church does not refer to the Holy Spirit as a female.

A comment like this has consequences theologically. I mean – what does it mean for Our Lady? Would it make her part of some sort of life giving same-sex union with a female holy spirit? Does that mean that Jesus had 2 mums? What would this sort of idea mean to someone who was not so well educated in theological terms and was dealing with same-sex attraction themselves? Would they feel that because a priest was saying this it was giving them the affirmation they were seeking that a same-sex union, even a same-sex family was ok? It might. I certainly can’t find anything Fr James has ever written saying that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman (correct me if I’m wrong here).

He is leading the people of God down the wrong path.

He is also leading younger priests down the wrong path.

dan fitz

Hmmm. Again I went to a friend who has studied both theology and ancient Hebrew and asked them (without revealing Fr Dan’s identity) to give an opinion on this statement:

“First premise is wrong. The Holy Trinity NEVER acts alone – and to say the main way we relate to God is through the Spirit is to misunderstand the Spirit’s role is to lead us to the Father, by leading us to Jesus, who is the perfect image of the Father. Seems also to downplay the objectivity of the Holy Eucharist which is a tangible participation in the real Body and Blood of Christ – hardly and insignificant relation to God, rather a particularly intimate one.

Second point is that the gender of verbs really does not get you very far – the Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son – being the love between them, being the glory of Jesus – therefore to posit a kind of competing feminine identity for the creative/salvific mission of God is – heresy. We in fact are the feminine – we are the receptive ones to the Spirit. This is a very dangerous and confused idea – and comes from someone with only a superficial understanding of both language and theology.”

Oh dear. So here you have a young guy – not even been a priest for 2 years, and he is being led astray by the nonsense of a much older and more experienced priest – whom I’m sure he trusts. However, Fr Dan also knows full well that the church has never referred to the Holy Spirit as a female. It kills me to see priests go astray like this – especially young priests. I pray and fast too much for priests to let them throw themselves into Satan’s arms like this. If they don’t like or agree with what the Catholic church teaches them why stay in the Catholic Church? There are plenty of Protestant churches where you can believe whatever the hell you like – go and join one of them. The Catholic church requires solid faithful priests with strong backbones, not lily-livered flannels who’s limp theology destroys the church from within. What’s going on with these guys?

Do they think that by throwing a bit of ancient Hebrew around they are sounding clever? Do they think they have suddenly found a new and incredibly ‘inclusive and diverse’ theology that the church must have inadvertently missed for the last 2000 years? Trying to make the faith ‘acceptable’ to today’s politically correct culture of death? Are they trying to look cool and clever?! Or are they just trying to forward their own warped theological ideas of what they would prefer the Catholic faith to look like?

I contacted both priests today and explained the female/male noun thing and asked them for and explanation. Neither of them admitted error. In fact quite the opposite – although Fr James Martin SJ did delete the Holy Spirit quote from his Twitter feed when he realised it actually made him look a complete um… twit.

Here is another post both these guys shared:

Fr. Dan 1

Worrying isn’t it? And as you can see from the comments, no attempt was made to correct this pseudo idea of ‘Love’ that is being floated around. The person in the pew has been left in error.

If our priests do not believe in the teachings of the church, is it any wonder that the people of God go astray. Maybe we should ask Ireland… When the shepherds lose their way, the sheep perish in the desert.

I’ll leave you with the well known Patrick Swayze liberal hymn to the Holy Spirit “She’s like the wind” (I’m just kidding! Bad joke – I know! – Keep smiling people 🙂 )

Pope outlines several new types of contraception for Catholics.

FrancisPlane

In an unprecedented interview yesterday Pope Francis reminded Catholics that they are not supposed to “breed like rabbits” and then went on to outline several newly acceptable forms of contraception.

When asked about birth control by Italian journalist Dolmio De Fungi, the Holy Father said “We should not be breeding like rabbits” and then unusually went onto clarify: “When I say ‘we’ I mean ‘you’, not me – I’m the Pope, and besides, we are both men!”

The Holy Father then went on to say “There are several types of Vatican approved contraception available to Catholics that are completely in line with Gods plan for Marriage and Family life: Dressing gown and slippers for example.”

When asked how reliable ‘dressing gown and slippers’ was in regards to limiting pregnancies within marriage, the Pope answered “Remarkably effective. Scientific studies show that when used in conjunction with other acceptable forms of contraception such as rollers and hair-nets or Avocado face packs, there is almost zero chance of sexual intercourse occurring.”

St. Dorothy of Cotton, an Avocado face pack, and St. Nora Batty - patron saint of remaining hostile towards male advances.

St. Dorothy of Cotton, an Avocado face pack, and St. Nora Batty – patron saint of remaining hostile towards male advances.

“And it’s not just the responsibility of the woman.” The Holy Father revealed. “Husbands too must take responsibility for limiting the amount of children in their families.” He went on to quote an often overlooked section of the  Catechism of the Catholic Church saying that “CCC9560 paragraph 2 states that: wearing a ‘socks and sandals’ combo, forgetting her birthday, lounging around on the sofa all day and farting in bed are all totally acceptable forms of male contraception.”

“What about onesie’s?” asked journalist Dolmio De Fungi.

“Mortal sin.” replied the Holy Father. “There is nothing funny about dressing up in a giant romper suit. We are trying to limit the number of babies – not dress in their clothes. And besides, they are totally impractical when you get up in the middle of the night needing the loo.” 

Two former Catholics (now excommunicated) wearing mortally sinful matching onesie's.

Two former Catholics (now excommunicated) wearing mortally sinful matching onesie’s.

When asked if it was really morally acceptable for a woman to go about the house in dressing gown and slippers all day in an attempt to look as unattractive as possible, the Holy Father answered “Maybe she’s had a hard day? Maybe the kids have been driving her mad for hours and hours? Maybe she has a headache? I don’t know – who am I to judge?”

“I’m not sure I’m ever going to be able to give the sign of peace again.”

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I had another conversation with my seminarian buddy… (I’m in black, he’s in red):

“I’m going to mass just now for what seems like the first time. Well, it is the first time since I actually became aware of where I am and what is happening on the altar. Actually I’m terrified. Say a little prayer for me! And thank you for opening my eyes to the fact that I am the ACTUAL crucifixion and the ACTUAL resurrection – not just a re-enactment of the last supper.

I was praying for you throughout Mass today. So…I’m dying to ask…how was your experience of Mass today then now that you know what’s really going on?!

Mass today… Just like we discussed, I put myself at the foot of the cross with mother Mary, Mary Magdalene and John. But I kept having to get up, sit down, get up, kneel down, get up….. And I kept having to respond to the priest which was interrupting my concentration.

I felt Jesus very clearly during the consecration enter my heart, and I was not afraid of being at the foot of the cross with the others – His Mother etc. and also my parents and the rest of the congregation. I understand now that there is no separation between the church militant and the church triumphant during Mass. None at all.

NONE at all! You’re absolutely right. Someone commented on the book of Revelation on your blog post – absolutely correct, the Lamb is adored for ever in the heavenly liturgy as one standing as if slain. This is WONDERFUL news Clare. Wonderful news. I would say, also, that the ‘having to respond’ thing is a frequent comment of those who go a bit deeper into the spirituality of the Mass – responding is somehow ‘inclusive’ on one level, but on another, it misses the point. I don’t think responding means you are participating more fully – in many cases, you participate less fully by responding because you don’t get the chance to pray.

…And then, as we were all standing there at the foot of the cross, contemplating this intimate declaration of love between God and mankind, alongside Christ’s grieving mother, someone taped me on the shoulder and with a big grin wanted to shake my hand!

Even WORSE!

It was totally out of place. I dropped to my knees instead. I’m not sure I’m ever going to be able to give the sign of peace again.

The way I look at it is this – I’d really rather not, but that’s because my understanding of the Mass is very different from those for whom the sign of peace is more significant. I suppose, I tend to do it on auto-pilot and I don’t move from the spot I’m in unless it would cause misunderstanding.

If you believe the Mass is a re-enactment of the last supper the sign of peace is great! It totally fits into place with what the disciples would have been doing – chatting and socialising round the dinner table. Before today I was a hugger and a kisser at the sign of peace! But now I cannot think of a more inappropriate gesture at that’d point in the Mass. What it achieves is to take ones attention away from the foot of the cross and instead directs it at each other. It’s nothing short of diabolical. At the most intimate part of the Mass – seconds before we receive the risen Jesus in holy Eucharist, the focus switches onto MAN. Surely it makes much more sense to have it at the beginning of Mass – the natural time to greet each other.

Seriously – if you are standing at the foot of the cross, would it be appropriate to smile and offer mother Mary a hand shake?!? When did people start doing this anyway? Who’s crazy idea was it? Whoever put this in place either did not understand what is happening at mass, or they deliberately wanted to move the focus away from Christ.

I don’t know where handshaking comes from. In the Roman Rite, the Kiss of Peace was done in two ways – at Solemn Masses between the clergy, in hierarchical order and soberly, whilst amongst the people a white disc called the ‘Pax Brede’ was passed around for each individual to kiss and hand on – they did not greet each other and certainly did not shake hands.

I’m going to have to look into this…”

My final post on suffering for 2014, and my prayer for 2015…

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My prayer for 2014 was “Lord, teach me about suffering.” My goodness I have learned so much! And I am so grateful. Here are a few of the main points I have learned:

1. To watch someone else suffer can be harder.

Sometimes it is harder to watch someone else suffer than to suffer yourself. I have known this all too clearly this year. I’ve had to watch my husband go through the ravages of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome knowing there is absolutely nothing I can do to take that suffering away – not even a little bit. This killed me. I would have done anything to take it upon myself – but that is not how God wanted it to be. There is purpose in my husbands suffering that I do not understand, but I do understand that this is his cross. So, sometimes I will be his Simon of Cyrene and help him carry it. Sometimes I will be Mother Mary and walk along side him. And sometimes I will be John or Mary Magdalene and will simply be with him as he is crucified.  Even though I cannot take this suffering upon myself, I can be there – so he does not have to suffer alone.

2. Crucify yourself as soon as possible.

I have come to the understanding that the worst kind of suffering we can experience in this life is to be separated from God through our own sin. I have experienced this in a massive way this year. I have been hanging onto a sinful thought that has indeed been damaging my relationship with Jesus all year. I was hanging on in false hope of a situation that I knew could never be because it was outside of Gods plan for my life. This has caused me so much needless suffering this year I can hardly begin to explain. It could of course have been entirely avoided if I had just stopped rebelling and instead accepted the situation for what it was by crucifying my own wants and desires immediately as soon as I saw the situation developing. It came to a head last week when the Lord asked me how long I intended to keep carrying this cross for before I would finally crucify myself and accept the freedom that this would bring. If I had crucified myself at the start, I would have saved myself a whole year of needless cross carrying! Through His grace, obtained for me by a dear friend who willingly offered to suffer for me, I have managed to let this crucifixion of self take place and I am now reunited with Christ with a pure heart. My peace has returned and now I have come through the crucifixion process I am enjoying the fruits of the resurrection I am now experiencing in my life.

3. Suffering is a gift.

Most Christians (including myself up until very recently) have no idea how to suffer. We will all suffer in this life – that is for certain, but we can either decide to do it in line with Gods plan or outside of God’s plan. When we suffer outside of Gods plan it is because we are sinning. Our suffering in this way is self-inflicted and entirely avoidable. When we suffer within Gods plan through no fault of our own we are presented with an opportunity to accept this suffering (bizarre as it may seem) as a gift. To offer this type of suffering in prayer for others is one of the most powerfully loving things we can do as human beings. Personally I have experienced a seismic shift in my attitude in regards to suffering when I have started offering it for other people. I have found that offering my suffering for others intentions not only gives it meaning and purpose, but also fills me with the most profound sense of joy. By willingly and joyfully offering my suffering for others I am imitating my Lord, and loving others in a sacrificial way that seems to touch hearts deeply. It also seems to remove the fear from suffering that I used to feel. Once the fear is gone, there is room to love. And where there is love, there is God. I never in a million years thought I would ever feel a desire to joyfully suffer – to actually be attracted to it, but I am. My Carmelite sister Therese of Lisieux is helping me to understand this.

4. The little way of suffering.

Suffering is the biggest, most un-tapped resource we have as Christians. Can you imagine if every Christian opened their hearts to the power of redemptive suffering and what effect that would have on the world?! Sometimes God gives us huge sufferings to bear, but usually on a day-to-day basis it is just little things we are given. A headache, someone annoying us, a boring job, being lonely etc. Imagine if every Christian joyfully used these little gifts to pray for the conversion of their loved ones, or for the souls in purgatory who once in heaven could intercede for us, or for priests, bishops and the Pope. It would utterly transform things! You can also give little things up to produce a suffering: sleep without a pillow, give up 1 cup of coffee and have water instead, hold your tongue in an argument (that’s the one I really need to work on! Ha! Ha!). There are billions of Christians all over the world. One little suffering each day offered joyfully in prayer from each of us would renew the church. It would renew face of the earth.

And that leads me on to my prayer for 2015…

One suffering that is dominant in western society is loneliness. This comes from a lack of depth in our relationships with each other, and more profoundly from a lack of depth in our relationship with God. If we only knew how much He loves us. If we could only understand and accept that He loves us so much He would rather send His only son to suffer and die, than risk spending eternity without any single one of us. As we begin to learn the incredible spiritual power of suffering this mystery becomes more and more understandable. Do we love someone enough to die for them? Do we even love someone enough to give up our morning cup of coffee to obtain graces for them? How many people in your parish do you know who would willingly give up their morning cup of coffee for you? My guess is that if you asked them they would probably look at you as if you were mad – or they would make some excuse as to why they could not do it. We are so weak aren’t we?!

The great North African theologian Tertullian (160–220 AD) recognised the love expressed in suffering in Christian relationships. He imagined pagans looking at Christians and saying, “Look . . .  how they love one another … and how they are ready to die for each other…” And on the same subject Christ even tells us that “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35

If we understood and imitated Christ’s sacrificial love for us within our parish communities – is it possible that any of us could ever be lonely again? We are called brothers and sisters for a reason. But I think perhaps in our modern world of comfort and consolations we have forgotten how to love each other properly. Love and suffering go hand in hand.

Faith has become a solitary pursuit – rarely discussed and often compartmentalized. Suffering has become taboo and is associated with failure. Yet it is the cross that unites us as brothers and sisters, and we come together in church each week to be part of this. The key to this whole issue is here right in front of us. If we personally accepted the sacrificial love that occurred for us individually on the cross, and understood that this is the way to love each other as a community, we would never be lonely again. But many, many Christians, many Catholics do not understand these mysteries – because they have never been taught.

So, my prayer for 2015, and the subject I will be predominantly blogging about is: “Lord, teach me about the Mass.”

I hope you will join me on this voyage of discovery!

CATHOLIC PARENT!

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For those who have not seen already, here is my new newsletter: Catholic Parent http://www.understandlivetransmit.com/

It is to replace the weekly Gospel reflections i was doing. More and more i realised that ordinary Catholic parents do not know the basics of the faith. I wanted to create a resource that will enable them to Understand, Live and Transmit the faith.

It will be a weekly production with the first series focusing on the Ten Commandments. Then there is the Creed, the Beatitudes, the Sacraments, the Mass, the ‘Our Father’ etc…

There is so much to cover! And it will all be done in the light of inviting the reader into a personal relationship with Christ.

Please visit the website and take a look at the first post and then let your Headmaster or Priest know about it. I have no funding to advertise so the only way this will circulate is if nice people like you decide to share it with the people who can implement it into their school or parish.

Lets work together to support parents and educate the laity!

Please sign up to the blog http://www.understandlivetransmit.com/  and come and like the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/understandlivetransmit

 

Many thanks!

Clare x

Wheat or Weed – Which one are you?

Sixteenth Sunday – Year A

wheat-chaff

Gospel: Matthew 13:24-43

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.” Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds ar the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

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Today’s readings tell us about a very patient and compassionate God who is hopeful that the so-called “weeds” among us will be converted and that we should not be in a hurry to eliminate such elements from the Church or society or the family on the basis of unwarranted and hasty judgement.

In the 1993 film Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler, a successful businessman, arrives in Krakow from Czechoslovakia hoping to use the abundant cheap labour force of the Jews to manufacture goods for the German military. Schindler, a nominal Catholic and an opportunistic member of the Nazi Party, lavishes bribes upon the army officials and Nazi leaders and acquires a factory for the production of army mess kits. But he is a mixture of good and evil. Unfaithful to his wife, he certainly knows how to enjoy the so called “good life” -cigars, drink and women. He exploits his Jewish workers as a source of cheap labour. But as he witnesses the horrors endured by the Jews, the good elements in his character wake up. So he starts saving Jews, using his immense wealth and his political influence. At great personal risk he protects his workers from the death camps, there by showing that he is undoubtedly a courageous man with basic goodness. In today’s gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the wheat and weeds explaining how we all are a mixture of good and evil and why God tolerates evil in the world.

Thought for the week…

Am I  wheat or a weed?

 

Dear Jesus,

Please help me see your truth clearly so I can be wheat for you. Help me love my brother weeds.

Thank You, I love you Jesus, Amen.

Altar Rails are back in Shaftesbury UK!!

Here is a post from my friend Fr. Dylan James…

Jn 1:29-34
We just heard one of the most memorable lines in the Gospels, a line so significant that the Church has the priest repeat it in every Mass, saying as he holds the Eucharistic host for the congregation to see, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”St John the Baptist recognised the Lord when He came. But, as we know, many did not  recognise Him. Ultimately, those who didn’t recognise Him had Him crucified.
For ourselves, thinking of the Eucharist, it’s important to ask ourselves, again and again, “How FULLY do I recognise the Lord here?”Let me quote from a book I recently read by Bishop Schneider, that takes a similar line in the Gospels: After the death of the Lord the disciples went back to fishing on the Sea of Galilee. The Risen Lord appeared there on the lakeside, and when one of them saw Him and recognised Him, he cried out, “It is the Lord!” (Jn 21:7)
In our reception of Holy Communion we need to always strive to foster within ourselves those things that enable us, too, to look at the host, look at the One we are to receive, and not see not a thing but a person, not bread but the One who is ‘The LIVING Bread come down from heaven”(Jn 6:51), enabling us to say, “It is the Lord!”
Often we can find ourselves thinking instead of the Sunday lunch, or of the hymn book you’re holding, or the coat of the person in front of you. You get to the front and suddenly the host is thrust at you by the priest, and you’ve barely had a chance to think about it at all. So, How do we better focus?
Well, as I reminded you at Corpus Christi, we are called upon to make “an act of reverence” (GIRM 160) before receiving Holy Communion –this helps us focus. 
But, as of today, I’d like to change the processional movement of the congregation, to do on a Sunday what we’ve been experimenting with for some months on weekdays, namely, to have you line up along the altar rail, and have me come to you along the rail. This will mean:
(1) You have an additional choice, namely, whether to stand or kneel (a choice the GIRM of 2002AD explicitly mentions). Now I know that some of you are bound to not want this change, so let me point out that this is giving people a choice, so even if you don’t want this choice yourself, there are other people who do want this choice, who are very excited about having this choice –a choice they haven’t had until today. Feel totally free to stand or kneel, as you prefer, whichever you find helps you better focus of the fact that it is the Lord God Almighty coming to you. Judging from what has happened elsewhere when this has been introduced, I expect half of us to do one, and half to do the other –so none of us should feel a need to conform to what others are doing. (If you kneel, there is no need to make a further act of reverence by bowing your head.)
(2) You will have a moment to pause and focus your thoughts, as you wait for the priest or deacon to come to you. At weekday Masses people have said that this is very helpful. Talking to another priest just last night, who introduced this in his parish previously, he too said that actually this was by the far the biggest change –the pause it gives you before receiving Holy Communion.
(3) The whole process will be speeded up (ironically, despite you have more time to pause individually) because the slowest delay in distributing Holy Communion previously was the movement of the congregation. (Though I’m sure there will be an initial period where it all feels a little unsure, and slow, and confusing.)
Back to where I began, the general problem in our lives of needing to recognise the Lord. There was a wonderful JOY that we can detect in those declarations in the Gospels when individuals recognised Him. When we, too, recognise the One our hearts are built to yearn for, the One who satisfies the weary heart, the Lamb of sacrifice who takes away our sins, the food of the eternal heavenly banquet that fills us –when we, and as often as we, truly recognise Him, then we too are filled with joy: “it is the Lord!”

altar rails being used copy

Jesus and Virgin Mary shared DNA

The Chimera was, according to Greek mythology, a monstrous fire-breathing creature composed of the parts of three animals – a lion, a snake and a goat. The term chimera has come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals, or to describe anything composed of very disparate parts, or perceived as wildly imaginative or implausible. 

A person who has more than one set of DNA is also called a chimera, and the condition is called chimerism

“A baby’s DNA can end up in the mother’s bloodstream, because they are linked together through the placenta,” explains Melissa Parisi, a paediatric researcher with the U.S. National Institutes of Health. “The reverse is also true: A baby can acquire some of the mother’s DNA, in a condition known as micro-chimerism.”

It has been known for some time that, during pregnancy, foetal cells end up circulating within the mother’s bloodstream. A relatively new discovery, however, is that these foetal cells don’t just remain in the blood stream but travel to organs such as the heart or brain. Until recently foetal micro-chimeric cells which travelled to the maternal brain had only been seen in mice. But a new study shows that micro-chimeric cells occur in humans as well.

To detect the micro-chimeric cells in the maternal brain, scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle performed PCR analysis on tissue from 59 autopsied female brains. They found in 63 percent of the brains genes that are unique to the Y-chromosome, indicating they originated from a male, thus, micro-chimeric cells from a male foetus the women had given birth to at some point in their lives. Micro-chimeric cells persist in the maternal blood stream for years after pregnancy.

 

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By labelling cells from a mouse foetus green, they were able to detect them in the maternal brain. Now scientists have also shown that foetal micro-chimeric cells show up in human maternal brains as well. [Image: Harvard University]

What’s fascinating about these foetal cells is that they resemble pluripotent stem cells – they have the ability to become heart or brain cells. What this means functionally is still uncertain. But the potential for these so-called foetal micro-chimeric cells to incorporate and actually help repair maternal tissue is a new and exciting area of medical research.

Previous research in rats has shown micro-chimeric cells from the foetus migrating to the maternal heart which had been injured. A kind of trans-placental stem cell transplant, the foetal cells selectively targeted the injured area where they differentiated into several types of cardiac cells and aided in its repair. Another study in mice showed foetal micro-chimeric cells migrated to the maternal brain where they became neurons. 

From a scientific perspective, the bond between mother and child just got stronger, and even more complex.

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Interesting isn’t it?!

I have been puzzling over the Assumption recently. There is no direct mention of it in scripture and at first glance it seems to have little importance in terms of our salvation through Christ. The only real way i could make sense of it was to relate it to Mary’s immaculate conception (not to be confused with Jesus’ conception which is called the incarnation). When Mary was conceived by her parents, God did something unique – He allowed her to be conceived without original sin.

There are many arguments for and against this statement – my favourite being that if Mary was carrying original sin then she would be in need of salvation from her own Son. This would mean that it would be in her interests to carry and give birth to Him. In fact it would be true to say that by agreeing to be His Mother she would have been working for her own salvation – and as every good protestant knows – it is impossible to gain salvation through works. Wouldn’t it be more fitting for her to agree to be the mother of Jesus  purely out of love? Where there was nothing in it for her (as such). Would it even have been a free choice on her part if she knew her own salvation depended on her “Fiat”?

Would it be possible for God to unite so intimately with a human being in this way if there was the issue of sin involved? Mary and Jesus’ cells were in each others bodies – crossing the placental barrier. If Mary was a sinner, and her genetics were part of Jesus’ body, would He still be regarded as the spotless lamb? Just a thought…

So lets assume for a second that Mary WAS conceived without sin. That would mean that she was not bound to the statement “For the wages of sin is death…” – (Romans 6:23) So did she die or not? We don’t officially know. But if she was sinless then St. Paul’s statement suggests that there would be no need for her to die. There has never been any hint of a grave, or any remains, or any accounts or even stories of her death in over 2000 years – why?

Jesus ascended through His own divine power, and Mary too would have been assumed through His power – not through her own, as she doesn’t have any divine power. So the question we need to ask ourselves is: Did Jesus allow His Mother to be assumed, body and soul, into heaven? Or would He have her body decay? Would that even be possible if His cells were in Her body?

And anyway… what happened to Mary’s cells within Jesus’ body during the resurrection? 

From a theological perspective, the bond between mother and child just got stronger, and even more complex.

 

If you have enjoyed reading this article please consider leaving a small donation. I am working on a really exciting project that will be available for you to download free from this site very soon – but I can’t make it happen for free! If you are unable to leave a donation then please pray for God’s providence for my ministry – Thank You, Clare xx

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Sources:

http://singularityhub.com/2013/02/05/new-studies-show-cells-from-fetus-end-up-in-mothers-brains-and-hearts/

http://www.babycenter.com/0_strange-but-true-one-person-born-with-two-sets-of-dna-a-chim_10364937.bc

The Incredible Sulk

 

My prayer this new year was “Lord, teach me to suffer well…” I’m not kidding – that is what i actually asked for (stupid, stupid woman…!)

So, for the last couple of months i’ve been having a pretty hard time for one reason or another. We all get times like that right? When you are getting the living daylights kicked out of you from all sides of life it never comes in a nice ordered fashion does it? It comes as several massive bombshells all at once.

Well, i’ve been coping pretty well (or so i thought) until a few weeks ago when i started letting it get to me and then fell into the most incredible sulk. Since then I have been officially hosting my own mega pity-party for the last 3 weeks.

I wake up, i look like this…

by lunch time i look like this…

 

 

by dinner time i still look like this…

 

 

and i go to bed looking like this…

 

How can a 34 year old woman possibly get into this terrible state? I’ll tell you why shall i? Shall i? SHALL I???

EVERYBODY gets enough sleep, APART FROM ME!

EVERYBODY gets their pre-pregnancy figure back within weeks of the birth of their 3rd child, APART FROM ME!

EVERYBODY gets to work on their computer without constant, CONSTANT, interruption APART FROM… (wait someone’s calling…) ME!

EVERYBODY has a perfect marriage APART FROM ME!

EVERYBODY has perfect, well behaved children who do not push their mothers to the brink, APART FROM ME!

NO-ONE has to visit the terror dentist 5 TIMES in 2 months, APART FROM ME!

NO-ONE ever feels lonely or depressed or worried or overwhelmed or completely rubbish, APART FROM ME!

EVERYBODY gets to go to ROME to watch the double mega Pope canonization, APART FROM ME!

You get the picture.

(Notice that so far in this post i have mentioned myself 21 times, my children 2 times, my husband once and the Lord once.)

It was time to face it – i was having a 3 month long tantrum. Time for me to go stand in the naughty corner…

 

I repeated my new year prayer: “Lord teach me to suffer well, because all i have been doing is suffering badly and its getting worse. I can’t take it anymore…”

“Clare, it’s not about you. Praise Me while you suffer.”

WHATT???!! Another cryptic answer i didn’t want to hear. Why would i want to praise God during times of suffering? Suffering hurts. It sucks. It sucks big time. I don’t like to suffer. Why does God allow suffering anyway…?

This is why. Suffering achieves stuff. But suffering on it’s own is useless unless it is done with Love. Christ suffered for us on the cross, but wouldn’t it also be true to say that He never loved us more that when He was hanging there dying for us?

Love and suffering go hand in hand. For the Christian, they are inseparable. This is another major feature (apart from personal relationship with Jesus) that separates Christianity from other world religions. It is a mind boggling, mysterious, wonderful paradox.

When we accept it out of love for Christ, our suffering becomes a gift. It is a gift to us that we can accept with love and then offer it back to God as a gift to Him. (I am not saying this is easy to understand.)

In this way we actually get to participate in the redemptive suffering of Christ. 

And i’m not just talking about the big stuff like having cancer, losing a child, or a failed marriage. I’m talking about stuff like not getting your own way all the time, not taking out your tiredness on your husband and kids, and accepting that following Christ with real love means that you don’t get to do stuff that other people do a lot of the time because He wants you to be doing other more important things at this point in your life.

Giving up meat on a friday each week is easy peasy lemon squeezy compared to giving up your own personal life ambitions, to stay home and change nappies right? It gets us all in different ways.

We do it out of love.

So what about the “Praise Me…” thing? Well i had no idea what this meant (as usual) and i had no idea of what i was doing (as usual) but that evening i decided that bedtime prayers with the kids was going to consist of singing. ONLY singing.

“Gloria! (clap, clap) Gloria! (clap, clap) in excelsis deo!…”

“Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!…”

“Gospa Mijka Moya” and Zdravo Kraljice Mira (“Mary you are my mother”, and “Hail Queen of Peace” – Croatian)

and finally… “Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising…!”

The kids loved it. Dancing all over the room – purposefully jumping on and bursting the balloons we blew up for the Canonisation earlier in the day! Singing at the tops of their voices. It was one of the loudest most raucous prayer times we’ve ever had and it was great!

And do you know… I feel much better now. Try it for yourselves… I know you grump just as much as i do 😉

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5: 3-5

I have a bunch of new toys.

I have a bunch of new toys.

I got so many massive graces over Easter, but now it’s like God is sitting back saying nothing. I have a Rubik’s cube of graces with no instruction manual. I hate that! 

I guess it’s like when I downloaded Minecraft for my son, switched it on, and then left the room. I could hear him working out how to play it all morning, how he was getting frustrated and then squealing with delight as he realised he finally knew what he was doing. He shouted for me a few times but I just ignored him. If I told him how to do it if would have been ‘the wrong way, Mummy!’ because it is his new toy and he knows best 😉 
Anyway part of the fun is the learning right? I delight in watching him learn.

Same for me. I have new toys. I don’t know how to use them, but they have been switched on and God has left the room. He delights in watching me learn. He smiles at my mistakes and frustration. He waits in the background keeping quiet because if He did tell me how to use them it would be ‘the wrong way’ due to my ridiculously strong will and stubborn nature.

I am His child, He is my Father. He loves me with a perfect love.

My God loves me
His faithful love endures
And I will live like a child
Held in love secure…